Key Bank Center to host NCAA tournament games in 2026

Buffalo hosts first and second round games for eighth time
March Madness
Photo credit IMAGN

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) Key Bank Center will once again host NCAA men's basketball tournament games. It is already slated to host in 2022.

The 2026 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship First and Second
rounds at KeyBank Center will mark the eighth time since 2000 where the
city’s downtown arena has hosted the NCAA’s premier basketball
championship tournament. In addition to the 2022 tournament hosting
responsibilities, Buffalo has served as a host city for the basketball
championship in 2000, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2014 and 2017.

Canisius College, along with the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC)
and Niagara University, will once again serve as the host group for the
event.

“It is great to see that Buffalo was awarded the 2026 NCAA Men’s
Basketball First and Second rounds, to be hosted at KeyBank Center,” MAAC
Commissioner Rich Ensor said. “The ladies and gentlemen from Canisius,
Niagara, KeyBank Center, Pegula Sports and Entertainment and the Buffalo
Sports Commission are always a great bunch to work with, and are accustomed
to hosting first-class events. NCAA Basketball is already set to return to
Western New York for the 2022 NCAA Tournament, but it is great to say that it
won’t stop there. We look forward bringing these events back to Buffalo.”

“The Western New York community has repeatedly proven to be a great host
for the student-athletes, schools and fans from around the country,”
Michael McFarlane, Pegula Sports and Entertainment Senior Vice President of
Finance & Business Administration, said. “We were already looking forward
to hosting this premier sporting event again in 2022, and now we can add 2026
to the calendar at KeyBank Center.”

“The NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament is one of the great events in all of
sport,” said Patrick Kaler, President and CEO of Visit Buffalo Niagara.
“Buffalo has had the honor of hosting the tournament several times in the
past, with thousands of fans packing KeyBank Center and bringing a
one-of-a-kind excitement to our downtown hotels, restaurants and bars. It's a
dream come true to once again have the opportunity to host this great event
and show off our city to basketball fans from around the country.”

“I believe Buffalo and the Western New York region has proven to be one of
the premier host sites for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Division I
Men’s Basketball Tournament, and this announcement today speaks to that
point,” Canisius Director of Athletics Bill Maher said. “To be awarded
the opportunity to host the 2026 tournament, which will be our 10th NCAA
Championship event hosted at KeyBank Center, is real point of pride for the
area. Hosting the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is a community-wide
effort and we are proud to partner with the MAAC, Niagara University, Pegula
Sports and Entertainment and the Buffalo Sports Commission to bring one of
the nation’s favorite sporting events back to Buffalo.”

“Niagara University is proud to once again partner with the MAAC and
Canisius College on hosting the 2026 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship
First and Second rounds,” Niagara Director of Athletics Simon Gray said.
“The City of Buffalo and KeyBank Center have proven on multiple occasions,
including the 2019 Men’s Frozen Four, that they are ideal hosts for elite
sporting competitions. Having the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament returning
to this region is a testament to the incredible fan base in this area. We are
all looking forward to hosting the 2022 and 2026 first and second rounds.”